By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
The sign ordinance made one last appearance before city council Tuesday, when the council revisited it long enough to amend a small portion of it, increasing the maximum sign height from 35 feet to 45 feet in the Service Commercial area. This change is excusive to the businesses whose property abuts the intersection of SR 522 and Main Street.
Tod Johnson of Speedway Chevrolet, whose existing sign is 20 feet in height, addressed city council on May 7 about his desire to have the sign restriction raised, as the grade of the road is ten feet above his piece of property.
“To give us a 45-foot high sign is essentially equivalent of a 35-foot high sign anywhere else in the city, which is what the code was trying to achieve,” said Johnson, who explained his reasoning and the history behind his request.
Both Speedway Chevrolet and Rairdon Dodge will be allowed the 45-foot sign height maximum.
The sign requirements include that the sign be fronted towards SR 522, adjacent and perpendicular to the road. Businesses will be limited to one 45-foot sign per property. Also, the signs have a maximum square footage of 140 feet, which applies to the sign’s total area.
Monroe City Attorney Zach Lell outlined the necessary course of action required to incorporate the change.
“The procedure for that would be to actually adopt a new ordinance that formally amends your previously adopted interim ordinance,” said Lell.
The motion passed its first reading, six to one, with Patsy Cudaback dissenting. The second reading will be given May 14, with a public hearing to take place on June 4.
Moratorium extended on marijuana gardens
City council held a public hearing on the current interim regulations for marijuana-related land use. The current interim regulations expire on June 4, and council will vote on extending them for another six months sometime before the expiration date.
No volunteers found to argue against police levy
The city is preparing to run a levy to increase funding to the Monroe Police Department, and it is the council’s job to appoint people to write the statements in support of and against the proposal for the voter’s pamphlet. Three people volunteered to serve on the pro committee, including former Monroe Deputy Police Chief Cherrie Harris, Tod Johnson of Speedway Chevrolet, and Neil Watkins, Executive Director of the Sky Valley Food Bank.
A motion to appoint all three applicants to the pro committee passed unanimously.
The ballot proposal is for an increase in the city sales tax of 1 penny for every $10. This revenue would then be utilized to hire new police officers, make repairs to the police station and install security upgrades in the impound lot.
Thus far there are no applicants for the con committee.
The sales tax increase will be on the Aug. 6 ballot.
Work begins on 2015 comp plan update
Selections have begun for a committee assigned to help choose a consultant to work with the city of Monroe on the 2015 comprehensive plan update. The goal is to acquire a Washington-based firm. Interviews will be held on June 20, and three to five consultant firms will be interviewed.
The selection committee will include members of city staff, a planning commission member, a city councilmember and a representative from parks and recreation.
As part of the update, the city is also planning to attempt to increase the Urban Growth Area (UGA) again, despite a failed previous attempt. Jeff Sax, the economic development manager for the city, stated that local developer Dave Remlinger has property in the southwest, rural-urban transition area of Monroe that he would like to see eventually become part of the city, but Sax anticipates that it will not be easy.
“It’s going to be an uphill battle if the city of Monroe would like to get a UGA expansion made,” Sax told city council.
Sax stated that the city needs to be fully engaged in this process now, and will bring this back to the council next week with maps so that people can better visualize the areas in discussion. He discussed getting a Resolution of Desire submitted to Snohomish County Council by May 29, which is the deadline to submit to the county’s Urban Growth Area docket.
Sax stressed the importance of being fully engaged in all aspects of the 2015 comprehensive plan update.
“We need to get onboard and start paying attention,” said Sax.